Over the past decade, the discussion of cyber security and privacy protection has moved from technical papers to the front pages as more people ask how to keep networks secure. This is hardly surprising. Cloud computing, big data, 5G, the Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence have created more complex, open systems that use more diverse technology. Innovation is redefining traditional network boundaries, dissolving the borders between the digital and physical worlds. New services are being rolled out quickly. And geopolitical tensions have made the debate fractious.
The challenge is immense but not insurmountable. The basic principles of cyber security have not changed. Transparency and common international standards can facilitate verification. A sense of shared responsibility can mobilise the action we need.
These are the firm beliefs of Huawei, which has worked closely with our telecoms network customers for more than 30 years to build over 1,500 networks in more than 170 countries and regions. Together, we have connected more than three billion people worldwide, and maintained a strong track record in security and reliability throughout.
Huawei is a private company owned by its employees. This has given our people a stronger stake in our success and supported our global growth. It is also why our founder, Ren Zhengfei, has said he would never agree to a request from the Chinese or any other government to provide access to our technology or network data. He would rather sell the company or shut it down, than breach customer trust and destroy the enterprise he and other employees have spent the past three decades building.
As the world goes digital at a faster rate, we have made cyber security and privacy protection a crucial part of Huawei’s strategy. We are committed to improving our software engineering capabilities and business continuity management systems, while enhancing the resilience of networks. We are establishing an end-to-end cyber security assurance system across the business. And we are committed to openness and transparency so our performance can be verified.
Our commitment is to do everything in our power to help our customers build resilient networks. As a provider of smart devices, we embed privacy protection into the entire product lifecycle, giving consumers full transparency and control. Beyond our own business we champion the development of shared standards and independent, objective verification mechanisms so that customers can choose products with the confidence that they meet the right standard.
No company is an island. In the digital age the challenges we face are universal. The demand for trustworthy digital infrastructure keeps growing as the cloud, digitisation and software become the norm. Huawei shares the same objectives as all telecoms operators and governments, namely secure, stable and resilient networks. We must work together to build them.
Victor Zhang is vice-president at Huawei.